When we talk about our favourite moments from the seven Harry Potter books, certain chapters always make an appearance. The climaxes, for instance, are jampacked with action and emotion – J.K. Rowling certainly knows how to end her books with a punch.
Whilst the closing acts of Harry Potter are always great, they can overshadow earlier chapters which don’t get enough credit. And given the popularity of the movies, sometimes it’s easy for casual fans to simply forget those moments that are exclusive to the books.
Some of the most enjoyable chapters aren’t overly integral to the plot, either. Given the charm and detail of Rowling’s world, sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and soak in the more relaxed parts of Harry’s journey. This may involve the introduction of a new location, an amusing conversation, or a dive into the past via Dumbledore’s Pensieve.
There are also some terrific chapters with brilliantly-disguised clues which are hints to future plot points. The beauty of these chapters is that you only recognise their importance when you re-read them and notice key details you’d previously overlooked...
10. The Leaky Cauldron – The Prisoner Of Azkaban
Chapter Synopsis: Harry goes shopping in Diagon Alley and meets up with Ron and Hermione.
‘The Leaky Cauldron’ is one of the most relaxed chapters in The Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry roams around Diagon Alley and collects his new school supplies for a large portion of the chapter. It’s a nice throwback to the first book, but it also demonstrates Harry’s growing independence – rather than being supported by Hagrid, he’s perfectly capable of shopping alone this time.
Before long, he meets up with his two best friends. And in the next few pages, Rowling drops a few hints about Scabbers’ identity. For one thing, Ron tells Harry that his rat became ill whilst in Egypt, which coincides with the date of Sirius Black’s escape from Azkaban. And – what’s more – Crookshanks (Hermione’s cat) also senses that Scabbers isn’t a real rat, which is why he attacks him in the Magical Menagerie.
The chapter ends with Harry learning that Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban to go after him. It’s certainly the most morbid part of the chapter, but it does create a powerful hook.